A husband hit his wife with his pickup in a department-store parking lot in Redmond, thwarting the couple’s attempt to make off with stolen merchandise, according to King County prosecutors.

Share story

A shoplifting excursion to the Kohl’s store in Redmond didn’t go as planned for a trio of thieves, even though two women managed to carry out more than $750 worth of merchandise in foil-lined shopping bags, according to King County prosecutors.

One member of the alleged shoplifting team dropped the bags containing perfume, clothing, shoes and other items, along with her purse and ID, when her husband hit her with their pickup as the getaway went awry, charging papers say.

The husband had intended to run down the store’s pursuing loss-prevention officer, who jumped out of the way, and the truck plowed into the driver’s wife instead, according to the documents.

The wife and a second woman got in the truck, and the three sped off, according to the charges filed for the Nov. 11 incident.

The suspected driver, 49-year-old Ernest Price, of Auburn, was arrested on a warrant and booked into the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on Thursday, jail and court records show. Charged with second-degree assault and second-degree theft, Price is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

His wife, Cynthia Cornethan, also 49, is wanted on a warrant for second-degree theft. She is also wanted on a bench warrant for a 2015 felony drug case, court records show.

The couple’s female accomplice has not been identified, charging papers say.

According to the charges:

Price, Cornethan and the other woman walked into the Kohl’s store on Union Hill Road, but Price left while the two women stuffed items in the shopping bags, which were “lined with foil to defeat the security system.”

The women ran through an emergency exit and were chased by the loss-prevention officer. He tried to stop them in the parking lot when Price accelerated his truck toward the officer. The officer jumped out of the way and was struck in the leg, but apparently was not seriously injured.

Price “very easily could have killed someone or caused more serious injury,” Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Manca wrote in charging documents. “His actions demonstrate he is willing to use violence to further his criminal activities.”

Price has an “extensive” criminal history in Washington, including felony convictions for drug possession, taking a motor vehicle, forgery and assault, as well as seven felony convictions in Minnesota, charging papers say. Since 1995, warrants have been issued for his arrest 39 times in King County, the papers say.

As of 2007, Cornethan had 91 warrants issued for her arrest since 1984, say the charges. She has been convicted on 25 theft charges in the past 27 years, most of them gross misdemeanors, though she also has felony convictions for forgery, identity theft and drug possession, court records show.